In his memoir, One Bullet Away, Captain Nathaniel Fick (ret.), former platoon leader in the elite Marines Recon Battalion that went into Iraq in 2003, wrote a statement that I thought captures the ethical responsibilities of military leadership as well as the ethical strength that is so salient in the U.S. military. “I couldn’t control the justice of the declaration of war, but I could control the justice of its conduct within my tiny sphere of influence” (p.182). It’s leaders like Fick that make the U.S. military an ethical army.
Having moved back recently to my homeland of Singapore (with my beautiful American wife and son!), I look back with fond memories to my years in the U.S. I am grateful to America for giving me the opportunity to study within her borders, to enjoy for ten years a little of the American dream, and of course, to be blessed by the friendships I’ve made. America never ceases to amaze me. Such an open, generous, gracious, and justice-hungry land. I continue to stand with her. I continue to believe that she is a force for good in this world. To whom will the other justice-hungry people of the world look for aid? To whom will nations flock to taste freedom and learn how to live as free people? America is not the Kingdom of God. There is much in her that is dark, twisted, misshapened, and evil. But at the same time, something of our Lord’s kingdom shines in that land, a flicker of the realm of sunlight and justice to come. I hope that America never loses its sense of purpose. She was made to set people free. She was made for justice and liberty for all.
“Unless a political order is clear about the identities and rights of the diverse institutions of society, most of which are not political, then the mere combination of individual-rights protections and a procedurally limited government will not be sufficient to assure justice to a differentiated society.” — James Skillen, Recharging the American Experiment, p.29.
“8. America is a world leader in scholarship and invention. The United States is home to the world’s finest collection of universities and research institutions. Name just about any subject–from ancient philosophy to quantum physics–and chances are good that leading authorities work here. The record of American inventions and discoveries goes on and on, from the mechanical reaper to the microchip. American medical research facilities are among the best in the world. The United States leads the world in space exploration. The computer revolution started here.” — William J. Bennett, The American Patriot’s Almanac, p.35.
“Some people cite the absence of religious language in the Constitution and the provisions of the First Amendment as evidence that America is fundamentally a secular country. Nothing could be further from the truth. At the end of the eighteenth century, religious establishments existed throughout European countries and in several American states. State control of the church was a key element of state power, and the established church, in turn, provided legitimacy to the state. The framers of the American Constitution prohibited an established national church in order to limit the power of government and to protect and strengthen religion. The ‘separation of church and state’ is the corollary to the identity of religion and society. Its purpose, as William McLoughlin has said, was not to establish freedom from religion but to establish freedom for religion.” — Samuel P. Huntington, Who Are We?, p.85.
“America’s core culture has been and, at the moment, is still primarily the culture of the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century settlers who founded American society. The central elements of that culture can be defined in a variety of ways but include the Christian religion, Protestant values and moralism, a work ethic, the English lanugage, British traditions of law, justice, and the limits of government power, and a legacy of European art, literature, philosophy, and music. Out of this culture the settlers developed in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the American Creed with its principles of liberty, equality, individualism, representative government, and private property.” — Samuel P. Huntington, Who Are We?, p.41
“7. The U.S. military is the greatest defender of freedom in the world. Twice in the twentieth century, the United States led the way in saving the world from tyranny–first from the Axis Powers, then from Soviet totalitarianism. Throughout history, other superpowers have used armies to conquer territory and build empires by force. America, with its unrivaled military, has chosen a different course. The United States has liberated more people from tyranny than any other nation in history.” — William J. Bennett, The American Patriot’s Almanac, p.35.